Women's Open Round 1 Clippings

197460.jpgMike Aitken looks at Lorena Ochoa's course record 67 and notes this about the par-5 Road hole, which really speaks to how much it changes the feel of the Old Course (because I couldn't get a good shot of it off of TNT, I will spare you my rant about the conversion to a three-shotter despite the sliver of fairway offered for the lay up...pitiful):
Her drive from the 17th tee soared into the puffy clouds scattered across the St Andrews skyline on a piercing trajectory. Erring left on the conservative side in light rough, she narrowly avoided the Road Hole bunker with a 5-iron which swung away from the trap and onto the green.

Playing as a par 5 for the women, one of the strongest par 4s in golf struggled to hold its own yesterday. Like a heavyweight boxer unable to defend body punches, the Road Hole surrendered a barrage of birdies and eagles. With an average score of 4.5 against the par of 5, the 17th found itself filling the unusual role of soft touch at St Andrews.

Ron Sirak says don't expect another round like it and offers other various observations from round 1, including the British press falling hard for the Tiger-gives-Annika-his-yardage-book story and Michelle Wie's improved play.

Alena Bubniak at Golf For Women shares a nice day one list of links, while John Huggan puts the notion of women in the R&A clubhouse into perspective.
But let's get real people. The headline on this story should read, "R&A behave like normal people shock." While their gesture is to be welcomed in this, the early part of the 21st century, it is hardly earth shattering. No, they didn't have to do it; but yes, they should have done it decades ago.

Part of the reason why the R&A has been enjoying such acclaim this week is that so many people — particularly those from the United States — are unaware of the fact that the Old Course is a public facility, open to all golfers of whatever gender, colour or creed. The R&A does not therefore own golf's most famous course; it belongs to the people of St. Andrews. And the R&A is only one of many golf clubs who have the right to play over the hallowed links; another, the St. Rule club that makes its home on the right side of the 18th fairway, is, in fact, open only to women. Which makes it no better — or worse — than the R&A in my book.

Anyway, let's keep this whole clubhouse thing in perspective. While it has a certain symbolic significance, in the broad scheme of things nothing has changed. Next week women will again be barred from entering. Next week women will gain be barred from viewing the captain's balls in the trophy room. And next week, Laura Davies would be forced to change her shoes in the car park rather than choosing to do so as she is this week.

As Laura put it, "Why would I go somewhere I'm not welcome?"

Why indeed?